tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 4, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
it may be a little tedious, but we're going to make sure those rights are protected. and no matter how you package it, we'll be there to unpackage it and expose un-democratic principles to those that believe in democracy. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. in the belly of the beast. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with some grave robbing. we're going down into the dark, cold tomb of the late romney campaign. we're going to excavate the murky truths that were the living heart and mind of the defeated republican effort.
going to exhume tonight the guts of the thinking that went on and went so wrong. tonight, we get what we only guessed at, the results of which played out in the numbers of election night. the nasty, anti-immigrant politics, the attitude toward that 47%, the failure to turn out the white male vote, the reason romney picked ryan, and the wild prelude to the clint eastwood performance. tonight right here on "hardball," the dark aroma of what lies now beneath the dirt so we can understand what it looks like to think and feel your way into an historic disaster. with me are jeff zeleny with "the new york times" and susan milligan who is contributing editor at "u.s. news & world report." you laugh. it's not funny. you both attended that harvard institute of policy forum. last week with top advisers from both the obama and romney campaigns. they just released, by the way, tonight, we have the audio recordings of that not filmed event. we have a real autopsy of what went on behind the scenes during the primaries, the conventions, and the general election on the romney side. let's start with the republican race for the nomination. romney's campaign manager matt
rhoades was asked whether his candidate had gone too far to the right on immigration when challenged by texas governor rick perry and whether he had any regret about that. rhoades brings up the romney attacks on perry for calling social security a ponzi scheme and says he now feels that would have been enough to defeat perry. he says he didn't need to take the hard right stance on immigration. let's listen to this. here it is. >> i regret that -- i truly believe that people were shocked that we were going after governor perry in a republican primary on social security. they were critical of us at the time saying we were hitting him from the left, and, you know, if you look through the unwinding of the perry campaign, a lot of people put a focus on that one infamous debate moment, but it was the very early debates, the first and second debates, and by the third debate, and this is well before the other moment, i
think governor perry was badly hurt. in retrospect, i believe that we could have probably just beaten governor perry with the social security hit. >> boy, talk about a ruthless comment by a cynic talking there saying we didn't have to go in anti-immigrant tactically. we could have beaten him on his stupid comment on social security. the whole thing about immigration, self-deportation, all the rotten hard right position they took was just a tactic, and they could have avoided it. that's his entire assessment. i don't think these people deserve to win elections. >> i think matt rhoades was saying something that we have all believed -- >> that romney is pretending to be anti-immigrant. >> i don't know about that but not necessarily that he -- >> why did he -- >> he was worried about the other opponents in this primary campaign. michele bachmann was still in the race. they were really worried about governor perry. what this forum is interesting in showing when governor perry got into the race, their
fund-raising fell down. and the romney campaign did not quite realize that governor perry was going to be as bad of a debater as he was. if they had known that, they never would have said any of this stuff, but this just opens up a bit -- >> but i'm telling you -- maybe you can't agree. i have an opinion. my opinion is if they're willing to say no student in-state tuition for people who come here because their parents brought them here, which is a normal break you give a kid who grows up in texas. you tax them on that. what a rotten approach to take just to win a couple points against perry. now he's saying a tactical mistake. >> but this was his whole campaign was basically a businessman's approach and accommodating product for the consumer, and the consumer in the primary was a conservative voter, just as a consumer in massachusetts was a liberal voter, and the general election was different. he thought he had to come at him from the right. in retrospect it's easy for matt rhoades to say we should have -- knocked him out with this -- >> >> why didn't he just say it's wrong. >> it's a little early to -- >> it's morally wrong to beat
the hell out of young people who grew up, children of immigrants, legal or not. they didn't break any laws, the kids, and they're trying to go to school here. >> it's funny, at the time governor perry, and newt gingrich at the time as well, was much to the left of mitt romney on immigration. so i just think the campaign manager, matt rhoades, is someone -- he's an operative, he's been inside the bush world, inside the romney world in both cycles. we haven't heard from him hardly at all. he just didn't talk to the press during the campaign. this just offered a window. i think he was being honest -- >> maybe being tactical. by the way, w. was good on immigration. >> he was. >> here is matt rhoades again. he spoke about that infamous 47% comment romney made when he thought it was a closed door fund-raiser. the doors were closed, but the tape was on. let's listen to what he says about how they handled the 47%. >> i remember speaking to him and, you know, there was a lot of negativity about our campaign as a whole, but he's a person that takes personal responsibility about it, and he
would tell me on -- to me, like, you didn't say 47%, matt. stuart didn't say 47%. i did. and obviously it was not a high moment for our campaign, but i think it speaks a lot to who mitt romney is, and i also like to think it speaks a lot to who this campaign team is that we were able to make a run and come back from that because there were periods during that time where people, and many people in this room, said that we had no chance. we never allowed ourselves to believe that, and the governor never allowed himself to believe that either. >> susan, what's profoundly interesting to me there, here is the people on the center right and far right across the board on that campaign, recognizing that what the presidential candidate was caught saying about the 47% was so grievous that it was almost like a mortal
wound and they had to sort of suffer through it. >> yeah. well, what you can't hear on the tape is when he said that was not a high moment for us, and everybody laughed in the room. you can't hear that on the tape. but they didn't even in this event sort of apologize for the substance of that. it was just an acknowledgment it did do them damage. the obama people said it certainly helped them, but they also didn't think that that rush that they had in the polls right after that was really real. i mean, that was another thing that was very different between the two campaigns. i feel the obama people were much more realistic about the numbers, what the numbers really were, as compared to the romney campaign. >> what do you make of that, the fact -- again, we see the pattern of tactical answers to what seem to be terrible statements about half the country, 47%, not being this guy's responsibility. >> right. i mean, i think in fairness these questions were tactical questions. this was a forum about the nuts and bolts of why they did this or that, but i thought interestingly, i agree with susan, the obama campaign was saying that even though things looked a little bit better for them, they thought it was only a temporary thing. they thought they were only getting some of the independents temporarily. we saw that after the first debate things switched back very quickly.
the obama campaign thought it was a good moment for them only because it was a bad moment for mitt romney. this was a low moment of the romney campaign, not just because of the comments, a, they didn't know how to react, and there was a lot of internal infighting with stuart stevens and matt rhoades. they didn't really get to the brot tom of that -- >> the polling clearly suggested their candidate was in a much better position than he really was. romney's pollster neil newhouse spoke about what surprised him most in the turnout on election day. this is fascinating, this stuff. let's listen to neil newhouse. >> the real hidden story here from our side, when you lose, you nitpick the numbers and go through this stuff. the number of white men who didn't vote in this election compared to white women compared to four years ago was extraordinary. something like 286,000 white men who voted in '08 in ohio didn't vote in '12. and in florida, something like 400,000.
and these white men were replaced in the electorate to some extent by white women. we were taking a group we won by 27 points and replacing them with a group we won by 12 or 14 points. >> here is a campaign geared to igniting and irritating angry white men, getting them riled up. i didn't think it took much rallying to get out and vote against obama. they didn't show a lot of them. >> it's hard to hear that because we lost power at some point because we were all talking in the dark, which was interesting. but what's interesting to me is they still seem not to understand the demographics of this country. they seem genuinely stunned they didn't get the male white vote out. they said they have been replaced with white women. they kind of gave the impression that had they just gotten that vote out, that they would have won. but there was an iffy -- >> that's true long term, but in the short term these white men were angry, but apparently they were in a crosswind. they didn't know whether to vote for the rich guy who seemed to have no interest in them or the liberal guy from the democratic party that seemed to be from the other philosophy.
>> and at the end of the day they went with the liberal guy because they didn't think -- >> some of them didn't show. >> they thought the liberal guy understood them more, and it's all because the obama campaign and the democratic super pacs defined romney from the get-go, and the people in ohio just thought that romney did not understand their lives, their problems -- >> well, that's true. >> neil newhouse is a smart pollster. he just did not have the size of the electorate right. if the electorate predicted -- >> you say they're -- susan is right. >> they would have won but they did not expect the black -- >> do you have any history of people, white men, regular voters, not voting? i don't know of when they don't vote. they seem they always vote. he's talking about them not showing up. did they fill their ballots up but not for president? did they stay at home? doesn't everybody want to vote? i'm stunned by -- >> well, i don't know. maybe there was an issue here with, you know, as jeff was saying, do you vote for the rich guy or the black guy? for some, you know, sort of
working class white voter, that might be something -- >> we're not being crude here, but i think it's true. let's take a look at this romney adviser stu stevens spoke about one of the campaign's biggest face plants, if you will, the clint eastwood conversation with an empty chair at the republican convention. eastwood had spoken enthusiastically at a number of gop fund-raisers, and so schriefer asked him to do the same thing he had done before successfully at the convention without much success ultimately we now know. let's look at this one. >> i said, you know, are you going to do what we talked about, are you going to talk about what we talked about at these fund-raisers? and he looked at me and said yep. >> make my day? >> it's clint eastwood. you argue with him. >> well, that's not really useful putting together a platform for the president. the night he's accepting the nomination in tampa was not a great convention because of a couple things. one of them being the distraction of eastwood's performance. i liked it as show business. it was out of place obviously,
but what do you think of the work they did in terms of prepping that thing? did they do it wrong? or was it all eastwood's number? >> that clearly should not have been in prime time. >> right before the presidential candidate. >> had that happened an hour earlier, it would have been funny. the room would have liked it. but when the broadcast viewers came in and saw that that was their introduction to mitt romney and the look on ann romney's face who looked horrified to me. i remember sitting not that far from her in the convention hall, you could see she was troubled by this and certainly startled by it. it's stunning for all the planning, for all the millions of dollars and polling ads that something like this would happen and they wouldn't vet his speech. it's almost mind boggling. >> i don't think it's the romney sort of humor anyway. >> no. >> the interesting thing, too, is the obama campaign was saying it's a good thing they didn't run that romney video during that time because that was a very well-done, powerful introductory and biographical of romney. >> i think they would have had a better convention. >> thank you for giving us the
inside of the belly of the beast. susan. the drip, drip, drip of big name republicans who say higher tax rates are inevitable for the top people, that continues. polls say voters will blame the gop if we go over the cliff, but i worry when the time comes the president will also take the hit. also, from the just get over it department, there's a new ppp poll that finds that 25% of republicans want their state to secede from the union. do you believe this number? i am deeply convinced it's mainly in the south. and by the way, another 19% say they aren't so sure about secession. are these people meatheads or what? 44% of the republican party either does or might go along with ses secession. what do you want to bet these are the same people who say president obama is a muslim. just guessing. he's outspoken, tough, irreverent, biting, funny, and very, very smart. he'll be insufferable now. barney frank entered congress at the start of the reagan revolution. he's leaving it as it begins to crumble, some say.
the man from massachusetts joins us tonight. finally, consider yourself warned, barack obama is a socialist leading the country to communism. that's the latest from the sage of wasilla, sarah palin. that's what she's still saying. and this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. i just finished a bowl of your new light chicken pot pie soup and it's so rich and creamy... is it really 100 calories? let me put you on webcan... ...lean roasted chicken... and a creamy broth mmm i can still see you. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. hurry in and try five succulent entrees, like our tender snow crab paired with savory garlic shrimp. just $12.99. come into red lobster and sea food differently. and introducing 7 lunch choices for just $7.99. bp has paid overthe people of bp twenty-threeitment to the gulf. billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america.
we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. political campaigns are always competing to figure out the best ways to use social media. as the romney campaign learned, not all publicity is good publicity. yahoo! announced its top search terms of the year, and three of the top ten came from the romney campaign. good news? not really. coming in at nine, etch-a-sketch. romney adviser eric fehrnstrom's famous prediction he would shift sharply to the middle in the general election and did. number eight, eastwooding. inspired by clint eastwood's bizarre convention performance. talking to that empty chair. number two yahoo! meme, binders full of women. that came out of the second debate as romney clumsily explained how he searched for women when he was governor of
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welcome back to "hardball." today president obama again made clear there will be no deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff without the rich paying a higher tax rate. got it? higher rate. in this interview on bloomberg tv, he made it. let's listen. >> the issue right now that's relevant is the acknowledgment that if we're going to raise revenues that are sufficient to balance with the very tough cuts that we've already made and the further reforms in entitlements that i'm prepared to make, that we're going to have to see the rates on the top 2% go up, and we're not going to be able to get a deal without it. >> there you heard it again, top rates have to go up, and rates. and some republicans are saying that the gop will ultimately say uncle.
conservative columnist byron york, a very smart guy, wrote, quote, republicans will cave on the question of raising the tax rate for the highest income americans. the only question is whether they do so before or after the government goes over the so-called fiscal cliff. "new york times" columnist david brooks describes it this way. republicans will be raising middle class taxes in order to serve the rich. shafting sam's club to benefit the country club. if republicans do this, they might as well get mitt romney's 47% comments printed on t-shirts and wear them for the rest of their lives. so republicans have to realize they're going to have to cave on tax rates. the only question is what they get in return. michael steele is former chair of the republican national committee and an msnbc political analyst, and steve mcmahon's a democratic strategist. michael, you're on the republican side, and what do you think of that? the argument made by brooks which is more sophisticated. make your deal now while you can get something for it because after january 1st you will just be saving your rear end. >> i think he's absolutely right.
i think part of that deal should include giving the president what everybody in this town agrees on, and that is those middle tax cuts for the middle class out of the bush tax cuts. set that aside because everyone agrees we're not going to go after those. then it gives you some time and some room to really negotiate down on that -- what that -- >> we have to do all that by january 1st. >> and it can be done. chris, this is not rocket science. that piece is very easy to -- >> but once you do that, why don't you admit you're not -- you're going to let the top rates go back to 39.6%. >> you can do that, but this is the kicker. the republicans want to see that they're actually going to get something in the bargain that's going to be real and genuine, not the promise for cuts in entitlement spending four or five congresses from now but in the next -- >> let's talk turkey. everybody on the shows do it their way. i want to do it a certain way. >> of course. >> of course. sarcasm won't stop you, might not have you back here again. i'm just kidding. you're invaluable. let's go with this thing. during the cuban missile crisis kennedy and khrushchev were communicating through different ways. kennedy was trying to communicate i will do it this
way. this won't work for you stick, this will work for you. then he threw in turkey. so they found ways to communicate. is there a communication going on head to head between the president and the speaker right now? >> as of -- >> are they thinking back and forth? >> as of last wednesday they spoke on the phone for 25 minutes. here is what i think is interesting -- >> are they thinking this back and forth? are they gaming each other? >> i think they're farther apart. because you remember the president had his news conference, he said elections have consequences. but he talked about higher revenues. he didn't stick on higher rates. today -- >> he's back. >> he's moved to higher -- >> i think people on the left all the way to center are saying you got to do rates or you're not going to get pelosi and the core of the democratic party. >> i think you're absolutely right. that, again, is where the leverage point for boehner is right now, knowing that fact. >> does he know that the president can't deliver his party without that rate change? >> i think he does, but i think also that the president knows that boehner has got some problems in his -- >> what does boehner need to do to pay for that? if boehner knows -- this is
smart. if boehner knows he has to give on the tax rate at the top, what does his party insist on getting in return? do you know? do you know? what do they want? >> i think that they get -- as i said on this show before, the deal has always been, here, we will give you the cuts in spending if you give us a tax increase. we get the tax increase. we never get the cuts in spending. i think they want a definitive -- >> what do they want for spending? 50/50? >> i don't know if it's 50/50? >> 10 to 1. >> let's not get sarcastic. >> 3 to 1. >> yeah. it's not a question mark -- >> i think it's 50/50. >> three to one? >> yeah. >> $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in revenue? >> at least, at least. >> that's crazy. they'll never get that. they won't get that, will they? >> no, the republicans have no leverage. the only people who haven't figured out they have no leverage is the republicans and the speaker. >> we don't they have leverage? >> all the president has to do is manage the markets. if he gives a speech this week and says we're going to go over the cliff, it's not going to be a calamity, the markets have already priced this in. >> i don't believe that. >> we're going to go over the
cliff. it's not going to be -- >> the world is listening. the world is not going to listen to the president. >> i agree with you, chris. i think, quite frankly, if the president goes out and announces we're going over the cliff, this is something that will rest squarely on his shoulder -- >> here is a poll that makes your point. let's take a look at the question. a new "washington post"/pew research poll shows republicans will get most blame if there's no deal done. congressional republicans will get 53% of the blame game. obama just 27%. now, that's an interesting development there. i looked at that all afternoon, and your view of that. >> i think it's absolutely right, number one. number two, the republicans are creating a symbol that is not good for their brand, that they're going to let the tax codes go up for the middle class to protect the wealthy. the president has framed this very well. he's talked about balance. he's talked about the 2% having to do a little bit more. and on every one of those things the public is overwhelmingly with him. one-third of mitt romney's voters believed the top 2% need to pay a little more. >> conceptually you're obviously right.
the polling is right. here is my difference. the conditions in which the world lives. right now we're talking about a possible fiscal cliff. we're not off the cliff. >> right. >> if it's january 2nd or 3rd and the stock market is going down by a couple thousand points around the world. the japanese markets, european countries, countries in europe which are precarious are in bigger trouble. the whole thing is going wacky, one guy is going to be standing in the middle of the storm, not grover norquist or some republican, but the president of the united states who has to weather the storm and point the finger across the aisle to someone nobody else in the world knows and says, speaker boehner, would you solve this problem? i'm not sure -- that's why i'm against you on this one. i think times have changed. >> economically the biggest risk is the sequestration. it's not the tax cuts going into effect. and -- >> you mean the millions of dollars -- >> the cuts that will be forced through in the next two years. that's a much bigger risk to the economy. >> therefore? >> therefore, if the president lets this thing -- look, the markets have already priced this in. >> i hear the opposite. i hear that they believe that grown-ups will do the job when they have to.
they don't believe they're going to let us go over the cliff. >> i don't think the grown-ups believe they have to do the job by january 1st. i believe they believe the grown-ups have to do the job by january 30th or february 15th. >> they're going to believe the politicians can get the job done when they failed to get it done by january 1st. they're then going to believe -- >> i hear what steve is saying there. i'm standing in your camp, which is a rare spot for me to be in, standing in chris's camp here, but i think you're right. i think the markets have not baked this into their equation. >> dysfunction and childishness. >> dysfunction and childishness has nothing to do with my bottom line, necessarily, in terms of how i'm going to pay for things necessarily. yeah, i get the political side of that. but as a market force, i don't think they've baked that in, number one. number two, i don't think that the president is going to allow this thing to get to that point. i think they're going to cut a short-term deal to get through that first quarter of next year. >> kick it down the road. >> no. who is the only hero from this
election besides the president? the only hero? chris christie. the only one running 72%. people of all colors, all ethnic groups, you poll them, i have been in the rooms, i was there recently, they want a peace treaty of some kind to make it work. they don't want a big victory for the left or the right. they want a peace treaty right now. that's what they most want to know, that their parents are getting along. >> i agree with you, chris. >> i'm sorry -- >> i know the president should get a little edge of this because he earned it, some edge. >> he's just asking for rates. that's all he's asking for but the same thing he campaigned on -- >> i'm with you. he's got to get it done -- >> he's got to get it done -- >> you go off that fiscal cliff, you're part of the chaos and you're in the midst of the chaos. >> however he gets there, he will get there. >> okay, captain ahab. thank you, michael steele and steven mcmahon. i'm with michael tonight. drives people crazy. a broken clock is right twice a day. up next, the latest from sarah palin who is never, ever right! she says the president is turning the nation commie.
wait until you hear her. she's still at it and totally irrelevant. this is "hardball," the place for politics. meet the 5-passenger ford c-max hybrid. when you're carrying a lot of weight, c-max has a nice little trait, you see, c-max helps you load your freight, with its foot-activated lift gate. but that's not all you'll see, cause c-max also beats prius v, with better mpg. say hi to the all-new 47 combined mpg c-max hybrid.
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got it. back to "hardball." in the "sideshow," a protest takes a turn for the better. it started out when ohio senator rob portman took to a stage at a fix the debt conference in washington today. a group of protesters pre-empted portman's speech with a staged walkout and a chant about republican plans to cut spending. it was caught on camera by buzz feed. >> we're gonna grow, not slow, the economy. we're gonna grow, not slow, the economy. we're gonna grow, not slow, the economy. we're gonna grow, not slow, the economy. >> but here is how the episode
ended. there you see senator portman with four of the protesters after his speech. well, according to buzz feed, portman and those four protesters, all ohio residents, had an impromptu meeting after his speech ended. it lasted about 20 minutes and concluded with that group photo. i guess that's one way to be a politician and a protester. get the guy's attention, he gets their attention, they meet, you have a meeting, something gets done. also, why is sarah palin apologizing to fellow republicans? it turns out she's having second thoughts about warning them not to be wusses in debates on taxes and government spending. here is palin and her mea culpa, plus a nugget about socialism. >> well, i guess i shouldn't call politicians names -- >> why not? >> i apologize for calling the wobbly ones wusses. that distracts from the point that has to be made. i say go back to what the planks in your platform represents. it represents reining in government, putting back the power and the responsibility in
the individual, not in the state, not to government. again, that gets us towards socialism. what goes beyond socialism is communism. i know i'm going to get slammed for speaking too bluntly about what's going on. >> there's sean hannity getting history lessons from sarah palin. wonderful. next, a bit of the postmortem from "mad men." what romney staffers nicknamed their campaign ad team. minchillo thinks they did a few things right. despite losing the election. first of all, he says, their in-house production operation allowed them to churn out ads in record time. but minchillo also says if you make the chinese news agency angry, i figure you're doing something right. romney drew the wrath of china's news agency for promising to label them a currency manipulator. unfortunately for the mad men, it wasn't just the chinese who were paying attention. a general motors spokesman accused them of entering into a
parallel universe with that ad saying jeep was shipping american jobs over to china. finally, a toddler takes in cnbc's fiscal cliff talk. >> i think companies might be okay with that -- [ laughing ] >> that's like young kids who say they like me saying "let's play hardball." anyway, that's going viral, obviously. up next, 44% of a certain group of americans tell pollsters seceding from the union might be a good idea. who are these people? half think aa.c.o.r.n., which no longer exists, stole the election. what is this fringe called? it's called the gop. wait until you see these stats. it's like jay walking with jay leno. i don't know who these people are. anyway, "hardball," the place for politics, coming up. okay, now here's our holiday gift list.
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here's what's happen. iran says it captured a u.s. drone and released a videotape but the u.s. denies losing any. new york city police are questioning a suspect with a pushing incident. a man was killed by a train after being shoved on the tracks. prince william visited his pregnant wife kate at the london hospital where she's being treated for acute morning sickness. back to "hardball." remember the twilight zone on television with rod serling? according to the public policy
poll out today, 25% of republicans, that's a quarter of all republicans you know, say they would support their state seceding from the union because of president obama's re-election. another 19% said they weren't sure whether their state should secede or not. that means leave america, become something else. it isn't just people tell anonymous pollsters. in many states people were signing in open public marketplaces, out in the street, petitions to leave the country. in seven states the petitions have received enough support to force the white house to respond actually. take a look at this map and where the petitions have received -- well, that's a big shock. tennessee, north carolina, i love north carolina, georgia, florida, alabama, louisiana, and texas. the secession movement has the most signatures in texas, of course, with nearly 120,000 people signing on. according to the "new york times," quote, secession fever has struck parts of texas. in texas talks of secession has steadily shifted to the center from the fringe. what is really going on here?
let's find out. dana milbank has the right attitude, and ron reagan, a good friend of mine, an msnbc political analyst. i have to let you at this first, ron reagan. every time i see "gone with the wind" i see all these southern guys cheering, they can't wait to tell miss scarlet. miss car let, we're going to have a war, it's going to be great. and then the horror of 600,000 people dead including the burning of atlanta. then everybody says this wasn't such a great idea. now they're talking like secession is a good idea again. who are these maniacs? >> i'm sure all these people who are plumping for secession would call themselves patriots. >> of what country? >> real americans. >> well, good question here. so the way it works apparently is when democracy doesn't go your way, when you have an election and the other side wins, you throw the entire 200-plus years of the american experiment into the dumper. you have a little kind of hissy fit here. we've all been in groups of people where maybe eight, ten
people and one of the people, one of the people in this group is character disordered. they're a real sociopath, and over time though, if you can't get rid of them right away, that -- they change the entire dynamic, warp the dynamic of the group around their complaints and their sheer craziness. these people are that person in our national conversation. they're the crazy uncle at the table who you have to listen to his paranoid stories or he starts throwing food against the wall. >> let me go back to dana. how about a check on that, dana? is it true that the right is driven by these people who are secessionists? >> right. well, if you lose the election, nothing succeeds like secession. >> like secession. >> there's two things going on here. one is it's normal after elections that a lot of the losing side, they always say i'm going to move to canada, but these guys can't move to canada because it's socialized medicine up there. >> i thought it was australia they always wanted to go to. >> it's a protest against the election. this is roughly the same number of people who will say obama is born in kenya or he's a muslim.
this is -- >> do they vote? >> but you know what the best revenge would be? if obama could in the white house receive the petition and say, okay, go ahead. you're on your own. because the states, the various that have filed for these petitions, red states, tend to take in a lot more in government benefits than they pay in taxes. it would be very good -- >> you didn't name names in your one-eighth theory. but here are some names. ron paul, very recent congressman, national candidate for the presidency many times. he said secession is a deeply american, a deeply american principle. meanwhile, alan keyes, he wrote that while he doesn't think we've reached the point where secession is necessary necessarily, it remains a, quote, god endowed inalienable right. there you have people with educations, people with brains and a knowledge of american history, who come out and argue that this is something that should be put on the table. >> yeah. i guess brains and an education but still somehow profoundly ignorant, and they're emblematic of if not the ignorant people in
the republican people, at least people who will pander to that ignorance. it's apiece of birtherism, the climate change is a hoax, if you cut taxes for rich people, magically the economy revives. it's magical thinking, and we're in the thrall of magical thinkers. the republican party has to follow their magical thinkers. because they do, the rest of the national conversation gets distorted and pulled way over to the right. that's what's happening. >> ron, i love the way you suggest that the real patriots are the ones who want to secede from the united states. it reminds me -- we once had a priest named father feeney. he didn't like the church's view because the church didn't support no salvation outside the church. so he leaves the church. that's just like -- wait a minute, you're one of them now. that doesn't make any sense. it's like we're so patriotic, we're going to leave this country. >> we're going to leave the country.
they'll have to come up with a new name as they go. it's not just the south. parts of the plains, too, but it would seem to me as long as we could get like from the northeast -- could get air rights over canada to get to the west coast we could keep something of a nation together. >> what would be their preferred nation to join? >> you know they're not going to mexico. >> they ain't going to denmark. they don't like socialism. they're not going to go where all the white people are. what do they want? >> what's in the neighborhood? >> ron, give me some candidate countries they'd like to secede and join. >> some autocratic regime in central asia maybe. i don't know. >> here is some more interesting numbers. more interesting numbers from the new ppp poll. what do republicans think was really behind the president's electoral win. when asked whether the president won the election legitimately or whether the now defunct a.c.o.r.n. group stole it for him, 49% of republicans say that a.c.o.r.n. stole the election. that's why obama won.
half the republicans say democrats are engaged in voter fraud. ron, i'm far more fascinated by the fact that all these republicans believe that a.c.o.r.n. -- how can you put your signature to that? how can somebody say to that openly on the telephone, well, i think a.c.o.r.n. did it? >> because they hear it on fox news. that's why. fox news beats the drum about this kind of stuff, and that's all these people listen to. they live in this bubble. >> i think they misheard it and they thought a unicorn stole the election. >> i mean a.c.o.r.n. they don't have a nickel to rub against another nickel, and they're running the country. thank you, dana and ron. i think we caught the spirit of this nonsense. up next, one of the most popular guests we've ever had on "hardball," barney frank joins us as he prepares to leave the congress after more than -- boy, barney's been around a long time. i thought he was the new guy. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ur rate cd. ur rate cd. tonight our guest, thomas sargent. nobel laureate in economics, and one of the most cited economists in the world.
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is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families. [ laughs ] dad! dad! [ applause ] ♪ [ male announcer ] life brings obstacles. usaa brings advice. call or visit us online. we're ready to help. you've heard the expression you are what you eat. try this one, you vote what you eat. according to david wasserman of the cook political report, president obama won 77% of counties that contain a whole foods store. no surprise really. the high end whole foods tends to locate stores in more affluent neighborhoods and cities and suburbs, right where the democrats tend to live. how did the president do in more rural cracker barrel counties? not as well. only 29% of cracker barrel counties went for the president. we'll be right back. at makes wav even better. if your tv were a hot dog, zeebox would be some sort of fancy, french mustard.
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use alka-seltzer plus night cold & flu... [ coughs ] [ buzz! ] [ screams ] ...and you could find yourself... honey? ...on the couch. nyquil d. 50% longer cough and stuffy nose relief. welcome back to "hardball." i've had a lot of thought of doing this for a while. barney frank has been a great congressman for years, representing massachusetts ever since he was elect the back in the early '80s. i want to talk to congressman frank tonight. thank you for joining us, barney frank. >> thank you, chris. >> i think you've been thinking big about what you've been doing these incredible number of years, since the '80s, since the reagan era. can you feel in you or do you sense progress in this country or, perhaps, decline from the reagan era to the obama era, when you put them all in your head? >> certainly, i'll tell you one very close to me. the question of me going quality for people who allegedly gay,
bisexual, transgender. that fight is about over. it's sort of odd to hear mitt romney complaining that president obama got an advantage because he was for same-sex marriage. not very long ago that was a wedge issue bob dole was using against bill clinton. i think we've made progress in other areas. clearly environmentally. we have deniers of global warming. but we're reducing the amount of oil we import and use. there's progress in that regard. on the other hand, there's been some retrogregs in the recognition of two of the great accomplishments of america in the 20th century with social security and medicare. before those two, we didn't have the possibility for the average old person who wasn't wealthy to have a decent existence in retirement. we now that v that and i'm sorry to see that pulled back. there's also an international
event. we have to recognize this. from 1940 to 1990, we had very heavily-armed, bad people threatening our existence as a society. we don't have that anymore. we have the thugs. they are not the communists. they don't threaten our very existence. we have an ability now, i believe, to reduce some of the resources and do more things at home. although there's an ideological barrier. >> i know you love the congress. tip o'neill once said the people are better now. they are better educated. but what's he saying, the process isn't as good? >> that's right. there are a couple factors there. it's interesting. the congress is less autonomous. in terms of democratic theory,
that's a good thing. but members felt they had more freedom to make policy decisions on their own. what happens today is that the voters are much more in control. and i know that people say that isn't the case, but that's part of the problem. it's not all the voters. it's the voters who choose to be active. the problem we have is that those voter who is choose to be active on the liberal or conservative side live in two universes. the right and left get different information. they talk to themselves. you're seeing that now on the side of the republican party. there's this terrible struggle. most sensible republicans understand they have to make some accommodations, but there's this terrible fear that if they act sensibly, they will lose primaries. >> i have never been elected to anything, but the joy and the
rich fun of being an elected official is to be an edmond burke, to sit around with people you respect and make a decision. now it's like the british parliament where you have to think constituency all the time. >> the reason the british, some sense there's an autonomy. if you vote with your government, even if your constituency doesn't like it, people say why is there this gridlock? it's a kcombination of the american people and the american constitution. in england if you win the election on wednesday, you're the prime minister on friday. but we're governed by the result of free elections. senators from six years ago, here's one of the main reason we're in a dead lock is this. the american people very drastically change their mind.
they elect barack obama and a congress in 2008. they repudiate their own decisions. now i do believe, and this is what i think ultimately will prove to be the case, the election of 2012 is the tie breaker. i just heard john boehner in an effort to scramble, it was a status quo election. if the republicans won the presidency and gained seelts in the senate and in the house, they wouldn't be calling it a status quo election. they would be calling it a mandate. particularly amused and frustrated way. obama doesn't have a mandate to raise taxes. george bush cut taxes with a minus half a million mar jib gi the polls. so if that isn't enough of a mandate to do something about taxes, what is with the loss?
>> we're going to miss you congressman frank. ending an incredible career in massachusetts. thank you so much. we're going to have you back, if we can. >> i'll be around. >> i'm going to ask you what you miss positively and negatively from the congress. thank for coming on tonight. >> you're welcome. when we return, let me finish with whether the politicians will be able to do what's necessary this this month. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. should be in charge of their own future. how they'll live tomorrow. for more than 116 years, ameriprise financial has worked for their clients' futures. helping millions of americans retire on their terms. when they want. where they want. doing what they want. ameriprise. the strength of a leader in retirement planning. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you one-to-one. together for your future. ♪ i heard you guys can ship ground for less than the ups store. that's right. i've learned the only way to get a holiday deal is to camp out.
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let me finish tonight with something important about leave leading this country through a difficult time. it's about barack obama's job description. if you read the newspapers, you see the fiscal catastrophe of greece. right now, the world is looking at us. the whole world. people as far away as hong kong. people have to make sharp decision about money and they are making to see if we americans can be the deadline. can we meet our own commitments? i have been alone in the role i've got here. i was alone about the wars in iraq. political weaknesses of certain democrats over the years. but this fiscal cliff is for real. nothing but trouble if we go over it. even if we get